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ROUND AND ROUND THE VILLAGE
(e) Miss Matthews notes a Forest of Dean version. The children form a ring, singing, " Round and round the valley, where we have been before," while one child walks round the outside. Then they stand with uplifted hands, joined together, and sing, " In and out of the windows, as we have done before," while the child threads her way in and out of the ring. Then they sing, "Stand and face your lover, as we have done before;" the child then stands in the centre of the ring and faces some one, whom she afterwards touches, and who succeeds her. A version from North Derbyshire (Mr. S. O. Addy) is practically the same as the Tean, North Staffs, version, except that the third verse is " Run to meet your lover," instead of " Stand and face your lover." The first child, during the singing of the third verse, walks round outside the ring, and touches one she chooses, who then runs away. While the fourth verse is being sung she is chased and caught, and the game begins again with the second child walking round the village. So far as Lancashire is concerned, Miss Dendy says, " I have no good evidence as yet that it is a Lancashire play. I think it has been imported here by board-school mistresses from other counties."
(f) The burden of this game-rhyme is undoubtedly the oldest part that has been preserved to modern times. It runs through all the versions without exception, though variations in the other lines is shown by the analysis to occur. The words of the line, " As we have done before," convey the idea of a recur-
ing event, and inasmuch as that event is undoubtedly marriage, it seems possible to suggest that we have here a survival of the periodical village festival at which marriages took place. If the incidents in the game compare closely with incidents in village custom, the necessary proof will be supplied, and we will first examine how far the words of the rhyme and the action of the game supply us with incidents; and, secondly, how far these incidents have been kept up in the village custom.
There is nothing in the words to suggest that the incidents which the game depicts belong to a fixed time, but it is an important fact that they are alluded to as having previously taken place. If, then, we have eventually to compare the game